Grab your free RESOURCES TOOLKIT and more screenwriting awesomeness!COUNT ME IN!
FREE RESOURCES TOOLKIT

blog

3 Awesome Final Draft Software Tricks Direct From an Insider

Improve Your Writing Experience Using Final Draft

SIGN UP & GET A FREE RESOURCES TOOLKIT PDF

We'll also send you the very best screenwriting tips, hacks and special offers on the web.

GET IT NOW!
Featured In
by Script Reader Pro in Best Screenwriting Software
October 21, 2014 10 comments
final draft software

3 Awesome Final Draft Software Tricks We Learned From an Insider

(The following is a guest post by Rebecca Norris, screenwriter and former lead technician on Final Draft software.)

When I used to work for Final Draft, I received many calls from frustrated screenwriters complaining that it was taking them too long to type and revise their scripts. But most of the time they simply weren’t using the program as efficiently as they could have been…

So, here are three quick tricks to help you type and revise your scripts and make writing with Final Draft software that much easier.

Final Draft Software Trick #1: Rebuild Your SmartType

Within the Final Draft software program, every time you type in a name in the Character element or type a new Scene Heading, it’s added to your SmartType, the auto-fill function in Final Draft that remembers them for you.

But if you’ve changed a character name, or eliminated a location, it can be annoying to see that name or location continue to show up as you type.

To remedy this, go to Document > SmartType and look through your Character and Location lists. You’ll probably see old information from previous drafts.

Press the Rebuild button to update the SmartType to reflect what’s currently happening in your script.

Rebuilding your SmartType every so often also helps keep your .fdx file healthy. Sometimes odd lines of text slip into the SmartType if they were incorrectly labeled while writing (ie. a random line of Action labeled as a Scene Heading.)

Too many of these incorrect entries within Final Draft software can bog down your SmartType and possibly contribute to your file behaving strangely or crashing.

Final Draft Software Trick #2: Use the Element Pop-Up Menu

For some people who are newer to using Final Draft software, they find it takes them forever to type a script because they use the mouse to go down (in Mac) or up (in Windows) to the toolbar to change the element manually each time as they write.

There’s no need to do this.

Simply press Return (Enter) twice to bring up the Element pop-up menu, and you can type the first letter of the element you want (ie. “S” for Scene Heading, “A” for Action.) No need to take your hands off the keyboard at all.

Final Draft Trick #3: Use the Reformat Tool

Sometimes I got calls from assistant directors ready to pull their hair out because the elements had been labeled incorrectly during the writing process.

If you need to go through your script and re-label incorrectly labeled elements, you can go to Tools > Reformat to do this easily.

This Final Draft pro tool will highlight every line for you and bring up a box where you can click what the element should be labeled as. Then hit Next to go to the following one, until you’ve gone through the script.

###

Do you have any other Final Draft tricks and tips you think our readers should know about? What things bug you about screenwriting using Final Draft software? Let us know in the comments section below!

final draft software

Liked This Post? Read More about the Best Screenwriting Software…

Screenwriting Software: The 5 Best Screenwriting Programs Compared

10 Free Screenwriting Software Choices for Screenwriters

10 Best Script Writing Apps for Writing Screenplays On-the-Go

[© Photo credits: Unsplash]

10 Comments
  1. Adrienne says:

    Hi, I was hoping this was going to talk about better tools for re-writing not just final draft software, which I’m finding very difficult navigating backwards and forwards through the timeline of scenes to do

    1. Hey Adrienne, do you mean navigating within scenes using Final Draft? Or just the writing process in general?

  2. Wyatt Lamoureux says:

    Thanks, FD. The first two tips I use (semi-regular) but I wasn’t aware of the third.
    As for #2, mostly I use the keyboard shortcuts (Ctrl+whatever) for efficiency. I’ve been stuck a few times with dropping a txt into a template and the formatting goes all nuts. It’s faster using keyboard shortcuts to navigate through and change elements back.

    1. Script Reader Pro says:

      Thanks for the comment, Wyatt, you’re certainly right about shortcuts!

  3. Stavros says:

    When one wants to send the script for someone else to read and reflect, do they need to have Final Draft to read, or?

    1. Script Reader Pro says:

      Most scripts are sent as PDFs so it doesn’t really matter what you write it in (but we strongly recommend it’s one of these 5 best screenwriting software.)

  4. Zeeshan Ali says:

    Your post topic is very informative and useful for all readers

    1. Script Reader Pro says:

      Thanks, Zeeshan.

  5. Daniel Lee says:

    I find the Scene View especially useful to keep my story on track, color-coding them by sequence. I can also give the scenes a label (I like putting the purpose of the scene after your fantastic article about that!).

    1. Script Reader Pro says:

      Thanks, Daniel, I’ll check out Scene View. Glad you’re finding the scene labels useful too.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

SIGN UP & GET A FREE RESOURCES TOOLKIT PDF

We'll also send you the very best screenwriting tips, hacks and special offers on the web.

GET IT NOW!